Six Ways to Fix Uneven Heating in Your Home

Gray oil heater beside living room window of residential home

The HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system is one of those things - like electrical wiring - that are crucial to the safe, efficient operation of a home. Yet most Arvada homeowners never give the HVAC system a second thought. Until something goes wrong.

One of the most common problems that arise with HVAC systems is their tendency over time to start heating the house unevenly. In some instances, this is the result of a homeowner closing vents in various rooms that are hardly ever used. But in other cases, it's a sign something is wrong.

Air duct cleaning is one potential solution. But because the problem has more than one potential cause, it's not the only potential solution. So before you go searching for “air duct cleaning near me” read the following list.

Uneven heating is not good for your home, the people who live in your home or your wallet. If you are experiencing uneven heating in your home it's important to fix the issue as soon as possible. With that in mind, here are 6 ways you can solve the problem of uneven heating in your home.

Have the Ducts Inspected for Leaks

If heat is not getting where it should be, one possible cause is that a leak has developed in the ductwork. This is a fairly common occurrence in homes more than 20 or 30 years old. Ductwork is basically a series of connected galvanized steel boxes that worm their way through the walls and ceiling carrying warm or cool air. In older homes, the connections between these boxes can come loose over time allowing air to leak out of the ductwork. When that happens one part of the home will get the warm or cool air it needs, while another part will not. Calling the pros from Steve's Air Duct Cleaning in Arvada to inspect and repair any leaks is often enough to solve the problem.

Adjust the Dampers

Some (not all) air ducts have dampers installed in them that can be opened or closed to adjust airflow. While the ductwork in the living spaces is sealed up inside the walls, floors and ceilings, ductwork in an unfinished basement is usually exposed, and it is there you will find the dampers, (if your system has any). Dampers are controlled by a lever that is typically 4 - 6 inches long. Turning that lever will open or close the damper and allow you greater control over how heated and cooled air is distributed. In some cases adjusting the dampers is all that's necessary to even out heat distribution in the house.

Adjust the Top Return Vents

Some (not all) homes use a combination of high and low return air vents. That is, there are return vents located both high on the walls (or even on the ceiling) and low on the walls near the floor. Heat rises, so it may be that the high vents are sucking heat out of the room, lowering the temperature. If your home has a high/low setup closing the high return vents in rooms that are not warming up in the winter may solve the problem. Conversely, closing the low vents in the summertime may help keep the room cooler, since cold air sinks toward the floor.

Employ Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are not just for creating air movement to cool a room, although that is certainly one of their main functions. They are also useful during the winter months for pushing warm air that has risen to the upper part of a room back down where it can be of more use. But you don't want to just turn the fan on “high” and walk away. There is usually a switch on the fan that allows you to reverse the direction of the blades from counterclockwise to clockwise. Engage that switch and then turn the fan on low. This will help keep warm air down where the people are and even out the heating in your home.

Check Your Home's Insulation

This is a more involved solution but uneven insulation may be the culprit for the uneven heating and cooling you are experiencing. For instance, if the attic is poorly insulated, heat (because it rises) may be venting out through the attic before it ever has a chance to warm the rooms below. If you notice that the 2nd floor of your home is cooler than the 1st floor, insufficient insulation in the attic may be the problem. Another benefit of upgrading your insulation will be lower energy bills.

Call Steve's for Professional Air Duct Cleaning

Sometimes air distribution is negatively affected by the buildup of dirt, dust and debris in the ductwork. This is especially true in Colorado which is constantly pummeled by prairie dust borne on winds from the east, and other sorts of debris blown down off the mountains to the west. If you haven't had your air ducts cleaned in the past couple of years have the team from Steve's in to inspect the ducts and determine if this is causing your uneven heating.


Uneven heating can negatively affect energy bills, personal health, the ability to sleep and even the long term integrity of the house itself. Call Steve's to learn more or to arrange for an inspection of your air ducts.

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Your air ducts are the lungs of your home and keeping them clean keeps you and your family healthier and your HVAC equipment working optimally.